Monday, December 5, 2016

Parenting with Perserverance

One of the hardest parts of parenting for someone (ahem) who tends towards laziness, is the constant need to discipline, teach, interact, and keep an eye on children.  They need our attention and almost any daily situation is an opportunity of learning and growth for them.  It can be exhausting.  Especially the discipline side of it, that's never fun, and I find that I have totally eased up on the littles than I did for the biggies.  Sometimes, letting go is okay but usually I just don't want to actually get off my keister and deal with the drama.  

Yesterday, Andrew and Eamon (ages 12 and 10) played a CYO basketball game.  This year is so nice because they can both play on the same team.  After years of practicing together, they can finally put it to the test in games.  And boy oh boy are they fun to watch.  They are fast, they are aggressive, they know how to really play the game.  They can read each other so well and as Maggie said, they "pass, pass, score".  Phil and I actually argue over who gets to watch their games, because it's just that enjoyable.  We are so proud of the hardworking athletes they have become.  Andrew, as the oldest on the team, is particularly great in his leadership role, helping the younger kids know where to go, continually passing them the ball to try and let them score, and cheering them on.

After the game, the coach's wife stopped me to tell me what a fine young man Andrew is.  She said "We can all see what he's doing out there on the court, and I actually had to turn away to wipe my eyes because it's so beautiful to see."  I started crying, of course, and thanked her.  He is a fine young man, indeed and it made me even prouder to hear how beautifully his soul is developing along with his athleticism.  I can't take any credit whatsoever for the great things my kids do, and I can't punish myself too much for the mistakes they make.  They are each their own.  However, it made me realize how the small, daily minutiae all adds up and becomes a greater sum.

When we teach our toddlers to take turns with the toy,
They become people who know how to share the spotlight.

When we don't let them have dessert until they finish their dinner,
We teach them that delayed gratification is the sweetest.

When we give them a daily routine,
 They learn time management.

When we feed them wholesome food, get them to bed on time, and keep them active,
They learn how to keep their bodies healthy and happy.

When we send them to timeout for a bad decision,
They learn that their actions have consequences.

When we lose our temper and our patience is gone,
They learn how to accept an apology and dole out mercy.

When we show them how to be kind,
They become a true friend.

When we teach them to treat others as they want to be treated,
They become people of honor, respect, and trust.

When we make them apologize for hurting someone's feelings,
They become compassionate adults and future saints.

And when we do our best to raise them, despite our flaws,
They become better people than us.

Sometimes wiping faces and dirty bums, filling sippy cups and slicing apples, doling out kisses and punishments on the daily can make a tired parent.  But these little moments matter.  You matter.  One day those little kids grow up and surprise you that in spite of yourself, they turn out pretty awesome.  Where there's love, there's grace, and anything is possible with perseverance.

Friday, December 2, 2016

7qt: Thanksgiving, A Birthday and Advent, Oh My!

Tagging along with Kelly and friends because it's Friday!!


Thanksgiving Happened:

JP set the table and I just loved the way he folded the napkins.  We used our wedding china for the first time ever!  We hosted this year because it was a small crowd, just our family, my sister's family and my parents.

Mr. Brendan loved his first Thansgiving too!


I can't believe we are closing out the first week of Advent already!  This year, Christmas is overwhelming me a little.  While gift-giving is normally my love language, this year it all just feels like too much.  We are strongly considering just doing a family gift this year for the kids, if it all works out in time, and if not I think the presents might be scarce this year.  All families have years like this, right?  Years where finances are bigger (hello new baby!  diapers!  formula!  daycare! for two!) and parents are so tired physically and mentally that the thought of shopping make me want to crawl into bed and wake up in 2017.  But I don't want the kids to feel like a new sibling = less special Christmas for them.  I think trying to keep each kid feeling loved and happy and treasured is one of the hardest parts of being a parent of many.  It certainly gives me lots of mom guilt.


Yesterday was Maggie's NINTH birthday!!

She always seems older than her age.

Gammy and Grandpa gave her that huge puppy, and Declan promptly stole it!

As excited as Maggie was, I think Xander was even more!

We got her an Easy-Bake Oven (Wow, that price!  I got it for less than $40!) and kit to go with it.  I feel like this is one of those presents that she's too old for but Xander really wanted it too, so it's a two-for-one deal.  She also wanted the first book in this series, and needed some clothes, especially jeans that aren't skinny, which are nearly impossible to find!  Seriously, at Children's Place, their girl's jean categories are: Skinny, Super Skinny, Jeggings, or Boot Cut.  So boot cut it was.


Maggie's teacher this year is really awesome for imparting theology all throughout their day, and Maggie has been learning so much.  We were on a walk the other day, and crossed a bridge where we could see the street we had already walked down.  I said "Hey, we were just there and now we're here!" And she said "If we were Padre Pio we could be in both places at the same time!"  

Another day, I was arranging for her best friend to come over to play and once I had gotten all the logistics of it worked out with the friend's mother, I went in to tell Maggie.  Knowing she was going to be super excited for a playdate, I jokingly said "I have some good news, but first tell me who's your favorite mother?" And she turned to me and said "Mary.  Why?"


We had Xander's godFather over for dinner last weekend, and he had brought some wine.  When Xander took a drink from his water cup, he said "Is this wine?"  We told him that is was only water, and Fr. Jay said "I wish I could turn water into wine!" and Xander looked at him and said "Well, Monsignor (our pastor) could do it."


I was on the ball this year with our Christmas card photos.  Don't expect it to happen again ;)  I don't want to show you the exact photo we used for the card, but I'll show you some of the poses we didn't use.  All our boys already had a white button down shirt and black pants, and Maggie had this beautiful dress handed down (similar) to her from a cousin.  I found some matching ties and an outfit for Brendan, and it was the least amount of money I've spent on Christmas card attire ever.  And you know these are going to be their Christmas Mass outfits too ;)


That was a lot, this one's a freebie.

Have a wonderful first weekend of December everybody!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Online Family Shopping Guide

While I wish my Christmas shopping was already done in time for Advent, let's be honest and say that I haven't even started.  A new baby is an excuse for not getting much else done for like what, a least?  I asked my kids and husband and myself (in the mirror) what their past fave Christmas/bday presents have been and complied the list below.  Since it is Cyber Monday, and I basically do alllll of my purchasing online, happy shopping!!  

Big Boys

Pull-up bar (I can't recommend enough!!  Perfect energy burner!)

Kindle fire and case (So cheap right now)

Michael Vey series (use code HOLIDAYBOOK to save $10 off of $25)

Rubik's Cube (Andrew is obsessed!)

Nike Elite socks (They can't get enough colors!)

Fleece hoodies (for the boys who hate coats)

Girl's choices

American Girl doll (Maggie wants a WellieWisher this year)

Shining Light Dolls (great Catholic present!)

Dice to play Bolo

Hubby's faves

Fitbit (We both wear ours everyday!)

Hair Clippers (for the price of ONE haircut)

Running shoes for him

Ice ball maker

Younger Boys

Pogostick (We make them go out and jump when they're getting underfoot)

Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry DVDs (Huge faves here)

Disgusting Jelly Beans (Fun stocking stuffers)

My picks

Running water bottle (Handheld and I don't run without it)

 Running shoes for her

Garment steamer (For the gal who hates ironing...which is like everybody, yes?)

I'll keep adding as I remember more and more...

Saturday, November 19, 2016

7qt: Saturday is the New Friday

Saturday is the new Friday, right Kelly?  Tardy to the party, as usual.


So proud of my Franciscan University classmate on his new position!!  This gives me some faith and hope in the Trump administration.


Maggie loves her Bernadette books, and now the author, Emily Ortega, has written a new book about a boy named Victor.

Victor is Bernadette's brother, and this book is his journey through Lent.  I just love Emily's style, her books weave Catholic imagery throughout but they are so loved by kids, they just get engrossed in the story.  Maggie's birthday is coming up soon, so I'm giving her Victor and the Fix-It Challenge, but I'm sure Eamon (who's in 4th grade like Victor) will be stealing it.


I've found a great postpartum shirt and pants this time around.  And by great I mean flowy and elastic-waisted.  And by postpartum I mean all the years following when you've had a baby.  9 months on, 9 years off so I say.  Elastic waists and flowy tops are great for Thanksgiving too :)



Phil's littlest sister just got engaged!

Diana and Ryan will be getting married in May, just about 15 years to the day after Phil and I tied the knot.  She was just a little peanut back when I met her, and I can't believe she's all grown up and ready to walk down the aisle.  I love weddings!!  Fun fact: all six of the kids in Phil's family went to Franciscan University, so chances are, if you're a Steubie grad from 1996-2011, you knew (or would recognize) a Martin.


This week has been full of swimming practices, basketball practices and basketball games.

 Tomorrow is a 5k race for the three eldest boys and then their CYO Jamboree kickoff game for Andrew and Eamon.  After that, I plan to sit on the couch and watch the Patriots win while eating some chips and pizza.  And wonder why I can't lose the baby weight this time around....but this little 3 month old was worth it!!

My cup overflows


Last weekend, our church held their Variety Show and our Pastor did a funny skit called "Monsignor's Revenge" where he knelt with all his altar servers to pray.  Then their pre-recorded voices came on as if we could hear them praying.  He got to poke fun at the altar servers, and it was great!  Most years the altar servers create a skit where they get to poke fun at him, hence the "Revenge".  I love that my boys have such a great relationship with him and he's a fun and normal man in their life.


Some very November photos to record for the fading memory:

Have a wonderful rest-of-the-weekend and Happy Thanksgiving if I don't see you before then!